With a core remit to innovate, create and inspire, Inspiration Healthcare are pioneers of medical technology that improves patient outcomes.
Based in Croydon and with offices across the UK, the business is home to over 200 employees who help design, manufacture and market cutting-edge medical technology for use across the globe. Consisting of 3 business entities, the group recently opened its first dedicated manufacturing plant here in the UK, and has undergone a period of sustained success and growth.
However, the harmonisation of processes across three business entities presented a problem to the Group when it came to payroll. A lack of dedicated payroll knowledge and experience meant the Group had moved to a single payroll bureau, as it sought to simplify the process and better manage their payroll requirements. But, when a lack of service, constant errors and time spent checking data began increasing the People and Finance teams’ already busy workload, they began to look elsewhere for a better solution.
We sat down for a chat with the Group’s People team to discover how switching to Cezanne HR’s Smart Managed Payroll service has given them a valued and supportive extension of their People function.
Tina, Abi and Maggie: thank you for joining us today! Tell us a little bit more about yourselves and what you do with Inspiration Healthcare
Tina: So, I’m Group Head of People for the Group. In short, I look after the entire People function for the Inspiration Healthcare Group – it’s quite a varied role!
Maggie: I work at the Group’s Hailsham office and I look after all aspects Hailsham’s finances. This also includes the Hailsham’s sales processes, plus day-to-day HR duties.
Abi: I work as the People Operations Administrator for the Group alongside Tina and the People Operations Manager. We took over payroll from the finance team about 18 months ago, so payroll now falls under our remit alongside the usual HR administrative side of things.
What were the main reasons behind your decision to outsource your payroll?
Tina: To provide a bit of background, the Group is made up of three legal entities; Viomedex Ltd, SLE Ltd and Inspiration Healthcare Ltd.
Maggie had always processed the payroll for Viomedex and that was outsourced to a small company that she thought very highly of and provided a good service. SLE were a much bigger company and processed their payroll internally, and Inspiration Healthcare’s payroll was outsourced to an accountancy firm.
Colleagues in our Finance team (who mainly owned the payroll process at that time) decided to search for an outsourced payroll provider for the whole Group to streamline matters, and to tap into the payroll expertise that we didn’t have ourselves.
A payroll agency was selected, and we moved our processes to them. At the same time, responsibility for payroll processing for Inspiration Healthcare and SLE moved to the People team, with Maggie continuing with Viomedex.
After a short period, we became disappointed with the service that our new payroll provider was giving us. We were hoping to work with a company that we could regard as our payroll partners. Unfortunately, this was not our reality: mistakes were being made, promised services were not delivered, and the partnership that we were looking for simply didn’t materialise.
Maggie: Yes, it was very difficult. It wasn’t just a case of uploading or forwarding data to them. Every aspect was labour intensive.
Tina: It also wasn’t a particularly smart system that they were using. The process was clunky and their portal was unintuitive.
As the months went by and our frustrations increased, I decided to look at Cezanne HR’s Smart Managed Payroll service. Initially, I didn’t consider moving to it as we had only just switched to a new payroll provider, and we had to consider the appetite to move our payroll again so quickly.
However, after chatting about it within our team, receiving a demo of the service from Cezanne HR, and speaking to one of Cezanne’s existing Smart Managed Payroll customers, we realised what a good move it would be, in terms of time-saving efficiencies, enhanced data protection, and simplifying access to payslips for our colleagues. The cost was also comparable.
Our Executive Directors backed the move and so we went ahead, with very little notice and ably supported by Cezanne’s implementation team … we haven’t looked back!
How has using Cezanne HR made managing payroll easier for you?
Tina: The fact that we have just one system to manage and update, so there is no duplication of sensitive employee data into another system. The ease of using the system is great. In the past, we’d have to upload spreadsheets with pay changes and amendments… really time-consuming stuff.
In Cezanne HR, we would be entering most of the details required for payroll into the system anyway, and now it’s just a few more steps to ensure that additional information is captured for payroll purposes.
I also know from Abi’s point of view how fantastic the system’s simplicity and level of automation is. For example, if we have someone who starts, leaves or has a pay adjustment mid-month, the system calculates the pro rata pay automatically – that was a big thing for us, and I think it’s fair to say that Abi was giddy with excitement at the prospect! The automatic calculations that the payroll module does are a huge plus, as they reduce the risk of error and save time.
Another strong selling point is that our employees now have one system to go to when they want to access pay information, such as pay slips and P60s. Before, our colleagues would forget where or how they could access them, especially if they weren’t in the habit of regularly downloading them from the self-service portal. They would then be contacting Abi to ask where they could get their payslips and how to login. The structure of the payslips is also an improvement as they are more detailed, which means fewer payroll queries.
Abi: Yes, questions from employees about payslips and pay in general have gone down massively – it’s been totally simplified. The fact that Cezanne HR can let you edit the description wording on payslips and the clearer itemisation I think has really helped.
We can add clearer descriptions such as ‘unpaid leave due to sickness during probation’, things like that. It’s clearer for our employees and helps them understand their payslips better… they’re not just contacting me to ask things like ‘Why do I have an unpaid leave here?’ it’s now just all simple and easy for everyone.
How many payroll queries were you having to deal with before Cezanne HR?
Abi: Previously, I would easily get around 20-25 a month or more, and they’d all be queries we’d have to take on, investigate and respond to. Now however, it’s gone down to about 3-4 at most, but sometimes it’s none at all!
It wasn’t just queries from employees that were taking a lot of our time, we had to raise a lot more queries with our previous payroll provider on how they had processed the payroll, and highlighting to them errors that were made.
Then, I was also worried about making mistakes on the pro rata calculations as payroll was a fairly new task to the role. Now though [with Cezanne HR, Payroll module], we feel we have a partner who aligns with both us and our needs, so that’s hugely beneficial for us.
Tina: Absolutely. The amount of time we’d have to spend going back to our previous payroll provider to check and correct things … we don’t get much of that now and, when we do, it’s mostly due to our own last minute adjustments.
What feedback have you had from your employees regarding your payroll?
Tina: None! But that’s definitely a good thing. Usually, we only received ‘feedback’ due to something negative rather than positive.
Abi: I think they [their employees] find it easy because they know all their personal information – including pay – is all in one place within the Cezanne HR system. We already had other modules in place, so including payroll with that, I think it all came together really nicely as they were already familiar with using the system.
How would you rate the service you receive from the Cezanne HR payroll team?
Maggie: To put into perspective, our previous provider really didn’t offer much support; they would only provide free support for a certain length of time. Then we were passed to a new team with no real contact information when we asked for help. We were then advised we would be charged for any additional support we needed … The support was poor.
With Cezanne HR, we are building a partnership. That helps us to trust the service a lot more. I’m fairly isolated where I work, so it’s really good to know that I can go to Modupe [a member of Cezanne HR’s Payroll team] and I can get any information I need. Don’t ever let her go, she is amazing!
How do you find the dashboards within Cezanne HR? Do they give all information you need?
Tina: I really like the dashboards. They’re nicely laid out and they do provide a really quick way for us to find data we need at any time. The dashboards can also highlight changes from month-to-month, which is really helpful for us, especially when it comes to payroll.
And finally, would you recommend Cezanne HR to other businesses?
Tina: Yes, absolutely. I think what really helped too was the fact that along with the core People module, we had the other HR modules as well [Absence Management, Performance Management, Recruitment and Onboarding]. Because of that, adding payroll just made sense and made things really simple for all of us.
We were looking for a payroll provider that we would consider our partners, with all the expertise and knowledge that we needed. With Cezanne HR, we’ve definitely got that partnership we were hoping for. Long may it continue!